It is no secret that the American people are facing a very tough economic climate. Families and small businesses are cutting back on expenses. As economic uncertainty continues, many across our nation are looking to the government for leadership during this difficult time. In these challenging economic times it is even more important for government to control spending and enact fiscally responsible solutions that are actually likely to turn our economy around.
Unfortunately, instead of supplying real solutions, the Majority in Congress has responded to the call with unprecedented, wasteful spending of taxpayers’ dollars. The stimulus package, which I voted against and which was signed into law back in February, increased the debt by $1 trillion, even though the alternative that I supported would have provided twice as many jobs at half the cost. Let me tell you just some of the things that the American people are getting for all this federal spending…
The Florida Department of Transportation will spend $3.4 million in stimulus funds to build an “eco-passage” for turtles and other animals under U.S. Highway 27 in Jackson Lake, Florida. This project will consist of a series of fences to direct turtles to a 13-foot long tunnel under the highway, helping them to avoid the oncoming traffic.
In the state of Wisconsin, 1,256 bridges have been deemed structurally deficient. Despite this fact, $15.8 million in stimulus money will be used to repair 37 bridges that hardly anyone uses. In fact, one bridge carries no more than ten cars a day but will receive over $425,000 for repairs.
The Town of Union, New York was unexpectedly granted nearly $580,000 in federal funds to be used to combat homelessness in their town. Town Supervisor John Bernardo was quoted as saying, “Union did not request the money and does not currently have homeless programs in place in the town to administer such funds.” Mr. Bernardo indicated that the Town of Union, which is largely a suburban town, doesn’t have a homeless issue.
The town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island is spending $550,000 in stimulus money on a skateboard park. Nantucket, Massachusetts will be receiving $2 million in stimulus funding to monitor scallop reproduction and habitats. Montana’s state-run liquor warehouse will receive $2.2 million in stimulus money to install skylights. Nearly $1.5 million in stimulus funds have been spent so far to produce signs bearing a “recovery emblem” for each project approved under the stimulus legislation. Yale and the University of Connecticut are receiving $850,000 in stimulus money for research “to study how paying attention improves performance of difficult tasks” and Portland, Oregon will spend $1 million in stimulus funds to upgrade 100 bike lockers and build a parking garage that will house 250 bicycles.
Sadly these are just a few of the examples of wasteful government spending. They are important to some but not by any means the highest priority needs of our nation. The American people know that we can’t borrow and spend our way back to prosperity. The path to our economic recovery starts with fiscally responsible solutions in Washington. The federal government must follow the example set by our nation’s families – tighten the budget, eliminate wasteful spending, and enact real, cost-effective solutions to turn our economy around. The future of America depends on it.